THE NOTEBOOK: Andy Carroll leads chants in the fan zone

THE NOTEBOOK: Former West Ham striker Andy Carroll gets the party started in the fan zone, Lucas Paqueta is beginning to repay club record fee… but Hammers have to remove shirt sponsor for Dutch trip

  • West Ham reach their first European final for 47 years by beating AZ Alkmaar
  • Fornals’ injury-time solo goal sealed a 3-1 aggregate win on Thursday night 
  • Shocking scenes as West Ham fans are ATTACKED by thugs at full-time

Substitute Pablo Formals scored a breakaway goal in stoppage time as West Ham United secured a 1-0 win at AZ Alkmaar on Thursday and a place in the Europa Conference League final after a 3-1 aggregate triumph.

The Hammers are through to a European club competition final for the first time in almost a half century after a 2-1 win in the first leg in London last week and last gasp 1-0 triumph in Thursday’s return leg against the Dutch side.

West Ham, who won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 and finished runners-up in the same competition in 1976, put up a dogged showing despite looking tired and spending much of the same time chasing their hosts.

The final is in Prague on June 7 against either FC Basel or Fiorentina.

Mail Sport’s KATHRYN BATTE takes a look at some of the things you may have missed.

Former West Ham striker Andy Carroll was spotted singing and dancing among the fans

Carroll has fun in the fan zone

Former West Ham striker Andy Carroll was an unlikely supporter to make the trip to the Netherlands. 

The Reading man, who also caught up with fellow former Hammer Tony Cottee in the fan zone, seemed to be enjoying himself as he got the party started with chants of ‘West Ham are massive, everywhere we go’ in front of a large group of fans who had gathered on the streets before kick-off.

Paqueta beginning to repay record fee

Lucas Paqueta is starting to show why West Ham made him their club-record signing last summer. 

Paqueta, signed for £51m from Lyon last summer, was given a free role off the left, as his heat map (right) shows. 

He came close to finding a breakthrough in the first half and was by far the best player on the pitch for David Moyes’ side. 

The Brazilian was also willing to put in the hard work in defence — tracking Alkmaar’s full backs.

Fans take over Dam Square

West Ham fans were, quite literally, blowing bubbles in the air as they swarmed Dam Square before kick-off. 

There was even a mass game of keepie-uppies before the main event. 

The club were only given an allocation of 975 tickets but there were well over 1,000 Hammers present, with BT Sport pundit Joe Cole insisting he had seen some dotted about in the home end.

Another day to remember

It seems that May 18 is a favourable in the history of West Ham football club. 

Thursday marked 11 years since Ricardo Vaz Te’s 87th minute goal saw the club return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, beating Blackpool 2-1 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley. 

Three players that started for the Hammers on that day were present in Alkmaar including assistant boss Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble and Carlton Cole, who were both on punditry duty for BT Sport. 

Cole scored the first goal for the Hammers that day while he and Nolan were both involved in the build-up to Vaz Te’s dramatic winner. 

Over a decade later and the club are now looking forward to their first major European final in 47 years. 

Hammers have to remove shirt sponsor

One thing missing in the Netherlands was West Ham’s front-of-shirt sponsor — Betway. 

The company’s logo had to be removed from the Hammers’ away shirt due to Dutch laws banning gambling companies from appearing on football kits. 

West Ham were also forced to remove their sponsor for last season’s Europa League round of 16 trip to Spanish side Sevilla, with Spain having the same rules.

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